Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Brand Champion? I Don't Think So

One of the core components of an effective recruitment marketing strategy is that leaders in the organization are actively engaged.

When I say engaged, I mean actually doing things...not just offering "support" during monthly recurring meetings. They have to be brand ambassadors.

Yes, the leadership. Not the HR staff. Not the Marketing staff. Not a 20 year old college dropout who "knows how to do social media."

You have to do it.

Leader Brand
Now that social media dominates the world of work (yes it does, whether you like it or not), your brand as a leader is not only important, it has already been established and is public.

What's that? You say you aren't active on social media so it's impossible for you to have a leader brand? Sorry...your absence says something very powerful about your brand...

...you don't have one.

The good news is that it's easy to get started:

- Spruce up your Linkedin profile (good pic, copy and paste your resume)

- Open a twitter account (use the same pic from your LInkedin account)

- Download snapchat. (it won't kill you...and everyone you're going to hire in the next 10 years is using it every day)

Content
Here's a little secret that will help transform you from zero-to-hero so you can finally start practicing what you preach. Your organization already develops content and pushes it out through the organization-wide marketing social media channels. This content has been vetted, approved, and is already out there.

You don't have to ask for permission, or worry about what you're posting. Just share, retweet or post it on your accounts.

Done!

Content drives engagement. Content highlights the amazing people in your company. If you're not sharing your own organization's content, you clearly are embarrassed about where you work, right? Otherwise, if you were a real brand ambassador, you would be sharing as much as you possibly could.

Are you with me?



How About You
It's time to back up all that talk at the annual years of service banquet about how "incredible your people are." Annual praise is empty. Start leading in the 21st century and set yourself apart from the competition. You'll be amazed at the results.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Catatonic

I'm a big believer that leaders need to speak up. Not some of the time...not once in a while...but all the time. This is particularly important when someone is being attacked unfairly.

But it's politically treacherous, right?

...breath fast...

Get Me Out of Here
It often begins as a veiled attempt at humor. A sharp comment during a meeting that appears to be well-intended. But then it continues...and feels different when the next comment seems to get more serious.

The impact triggers the same set of emotions every time.
- awkwardness, nervous laughter, eyes darting around the room
- then, as the behavior continues, all eyes focus on their phones or the floor

You now sit quietly and feel as if you are stuck between the aggressor and the victim.

...no sound...I feel you near...

Time for Action
Allowing these behaviors to continue in your organization (or mine) is a catastrophic leadership failure. 

There is no other way to describe it...hide it...or sweep it under the carpet. 

If you believe the hours of wordsmithing you've done to build your values statement were worth it, then you have to live those values through action.

Even when senior leaders act like jerks.

...heart pounds...but nothing moves...

How About You
When was the last time you experienced one of these awkward moments? Did you stare at your shoes or check your email?  Guess what? The person on the receiving end of the behavior was desperately hoping you would speak up.

Catatonic.


I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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inspiration

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Squads and Loyalty

Many of us have jobs. Some of those jobs are pretty good...some are brand new because we're new to the world of work...others are at an in-between-stop along the journey...

...and a select few have something completely different.

Your Squad
Success is often achieved through hustle, grinding, and hard work. This is true! There are no shortcuts. However, success is never achieved in a vacuum. The people you trust and allow to be part of your inner circle will define your future.

Think about that for a second...the people you trust will dictate whether you are successful or not.

Your squad means everything. I may be the luckiest person working today, because the team at work combined with my squad has opened up my world in ways I could never have imagined.

Loyalty
The result of recognizing the support you have behind you is the ultimate prize every employee engagement guru strives for...

Loyalty.

"How many of you are actually loyal to the organization your work for? What does that look like? How do you talk about, defend and promote your company?"

How About You
One of the often overlooked benefits of loyalty is the confidence you feel to do your job. When we know our organization has our back, and the team around us is helping us do good work we break through to a new level of performance.

So...who's on your squad, and what does that mean to you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

Millennials Scare You Because You're A Weak Leader

Enough is enough.

You are embarrassing yourself and your organization. You are proving to everyone that you don't deserve to lead because you sound like you are still wondering why Pickett's Charge failed.

Is this really the first time in your career you've had different generations of employees working for you?

Stop whining about millennials.

Forever.

You Are Not A Contemporary Leader
It seems I can no longer get through one day without hearing "leaders" lamenting about millennials and how to manage them in the workplace. Are you kidding me? There have been multiple generations in the workforce since the first row of corn was planted thousands of years ago. 

The problem has nothing to do with the birth date of the employees we are all hiring. The problem is 100% the responsibility of leaders who use Gen Y as an excuse to avoid their own failings.

It is 2016. Have you kept as current with new communication / branding / and social tools as you do with your "monthly professional journals?" Good Lord, I hope you aren't actually waiting a month to stay "current!"

If you are afraid to jump into the 21st century that is not the problem of your younger employees. Admit you are afraid...that you have no idea what is going on...and start learning! 

Haven't you all proclaimed that you lead a "learning organization?" How about you start backing up your empty jargon-filled-HR-speak and catch up to the rest of society?

The Secret to Every Generation
Here are a few insider tips to help you get started on your new journey:

1. New generations bring energy, fresh perspectives and new ideas to the workplace.
2. Every generation wants a good job, a good boss, decent pay, and a chance to have a life outside the cube.
3. These haven't changed since the dawn of time.

Unfortunately you're still trying to position yourself as leader by describing the challenges of millennials, instead of just leading. It's as if they are a protected class all of a sudden.

How About You
Am I being too harsh? Don't care.

Should I stay quiet and follow the classic leadership approach of always being positive about others in leadership?

No. Freaking. Way.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

See Me, Feel Me

Leadership Vision

"An essential means for focusing attention on what matters most; what you want to accomplish in your life and what kind of leader you wish to be. A useful vision has to be rooted in your past, address the future, and deal with today's realities. It represents who you are and what you stand for."

They Can't See It
I had the privilege to hear Steve Pemberton, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for Walgreens this week at the work human conference in Orlando, Florida. Steve presented an incredibly powerful message on adversity.

His own.

HIs unbearable struggles as a boy bouncing from foster home to foster home...the endless labels that defined a bright young boy as an "at risk" and "hopeless" soul before his life barely started...the long line of social workers shuffling in and out of his world...all pointing him to a life without a future.

They couldn't see him.

See Me
Steve never lost sight of the vision for his life. That vision included going to college, having a family, and building a successful career. He now has all of those things and so much more including a book about his life and a movie that begins shooting next month based on his story.

Steve's ability to see what others don't see, and making that vision a reality has defined his professional life as well. A quick example...Walgreens built a distribution center in South Carolina specifically designed to recruit employees with special needs, particularly those with autism.

That my friends is having a vision that no one else can see.


How About You
What vision do you have for yourself, for you team, for your organization? Can your colleagues feel your energy around that vision? Now is the time to make that vision a reality.

You can do it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dual Existence

The world of work presents a ton of challenges. 

How do I look? 
How do I sound? 
Am I prepared? 
Did I cover every potential issue? 
Did my slide deck work well? 
Did I say too much? 
Did I say too little? 
What do people really think of my work? 

Work can be exhausting...and I'm not even talking about doing the actual work.

Professional Persona
After so many years in traditional conservative corporate environments I fully appreciate the series of questions above. My colleagues and I literally worried about this stuff day after day after day.

While it's important to be prepared and present well, I've discovered as I look back that the snap judgments that abound in those settings are ridiculous.

Why in the world would we judge someone based on one presentation? Why is it that an obsession with playing office politics is more important than pushing boundaries, challenging old-school thinking, and constantly taking risks to help the organization break through to a whole new level.

By the way...organizations often herald their cultures, but rarely back up that rhetoric by rewarding risk takers. The risk-takers are the first ones ostracized and targeted for retaliation because "they are no longer a good fit."

People are not shoes. We can be more flexible on "fit" with human beings.

Life Balance
I've (finally) recognized that I can not honestly separate who I am professionally from the person I am outside of work. Work/Life balance is a fallacy. For me it is simply about life balance.

I've integrated my work, music, fitness, social media, blogging, representing my amazing company and time with family and friends all into one wild ride.

The days of a dual existence are over for me. It is only about living my life to the absolute fullest every minute of every day. It's about pushing myself...trying new things...failing occasionally...and finding new ways to hustle.

How About You
Are you still leading two lives? How does that feel? For me, it was an exhausting struggle that ultimately no longer made sense. Professionalism will always be required...just don't sell out and become something you're not. 

The personal side of you is awesome...make sure you let that side show too.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to My Career

I had a very clear plan as an undergraduate. It's almost impossible to say that with a straight face now!

A clear plan.

At 21.

Hahahaha.


Plan A
I went off to undergraduate school with a clear vision of what the next forty years were going to look like.

I almost made it to graduation day...
...then changed plans.

Plan B
I worked for a couple of years to figure everything out and then headed off to graduate school.

I had a clear vision of what the next forty years were going to look like.

I almost made it to graduation day...
...then changed plans.

You Will Never Think Big Enough
I've had the privilege to learn, grow, and serve in senior level positions for amazing organizations.

What have I learned?
- I didn't think big enough early on
- I didn't think big enough once things started moving quickly
- I'm still not thinking big enough (although I'm thinking pretty damn big!)



How About You
Is your career mapped out already? How could that possibly be true in a world filled with endless opportunities?

You can be more...if you want to be. There is nothing holding you back.
Literally. Nothing.

Think bigger every day. Even if you're embarrassed about your vision for your future.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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